Kelly Rutherford announced Friday that she will not be returning her children to live with their father in Monaco.
The former Gossip Girl actress has been fighting against her ex-husband Daniel Giersch in a protracted custody battle for their 8-year-old son Hermes and 6-year-old daughter Helena.
After the kids were ordered to live with their father in Monaco back in 2012, however Rutherford was recently allowed to take her children back to the U.S. for the summer, on the condition that the children be returned to Monaco at the end of the appointed stay.
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Rutherford was supposed to fly them back on Thursday, but is now refusing to do so. The 46-year-old actress released a statement to ET on Friday explaining her decision.
"These past three years waiting for my children to come home have been very difficult. My children were forced to leave the United states in 2012 when they were only 2 and 5 years old," Rutherford said. "In May, a judge in California gave me sole custody and brought them home. I am immensely grateful and overjoyed to have them back. Since May, however, the court proceedings have been confusing."
According to Rutherford, courts in New York and California have ruled that they have no jurisdiction over the custody battle. Giersch, a German businessman, was previously allowed to take the children to Monaco because his American visa had been revoked.
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Since neither state has claimed jurisdiction, Rutherford argues, "No state in this country is currently protecting my children."
"It also means that no state in this country currently requires me to send the children away," She continued. "Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country."
Rutherford went on to state that she believes the courts had no right to send her children to live with Giersch, and concluded her statement saying, "I hope that this decision will end this painful litigation, and that my children will be allowed to live in peace in their own country
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"Like all German citizens, my ex-husband can presumably travel to the United States on his German passport and exercise his parental rights in this country, just as I have done for the past three years in France and Monaco on my U.S. passport," Rutherford added. "I pray that officials in this country and in Monaco will agree that three years in exile is a very long time in a child's life, and that my children have a right to remain, once and for all, in the
Giersch's attorney Fahi Takesh Hallin released a statement to ET in May addressing the contentious legal battle.
“Daniel's goal is to continue to protect these children and shield them from any media exposure," read Hallin's statement, which was made before Rutherford was allowed to take the children back to the states.
No comments have yet been made on Giersch's behalf regarding this new development.
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